MANTI—A group of Indianola residents described a litany of problems related to development, roads and zoning enforcement at a county commission meeting last week.
What finally brought them before the commission on Tuesday, Sept. 21, was learning that the developer of Blackhawk Mountain, a 78-lot subdivision north of the Indianola Fire Station, has received state approval to put in a 2-acre lake as deep as Utah Lake.
The Utah Division of Water Rights has approved a transfer of water rights from other properties to the prospective lake, county zoning administrator Gary Mitchell told the commission. But the county commission has the power to veto the project.
Meanwhile, another developer has submitted a “concept plan” for a subdivision containing 90 lots south of the fire station. That subdivision design includes another 2-acre lake. However, the subdivision itself has yet to come before the county commission for approval.
“Thank you, thank you,” spokeswoman Bambi Elliot of Indianola said as other residents applauded.
Later in the meeting, Bartholomew said the county is aware of all the problems in the area. “We are addressing these issues right now,” he said. “You’re going to see some changes coming down very rapidly.”
He acknowledged zoning enforcement has been lax in the past. But now that the county has a full-time zoning enforcement officer, things are changing, he said. “This is something we haven’t done, granted, in past years. But we are now,” he said.
“The water issue is a very great (concern),” he added. “I see no reason, and I’m just speaking for myself, to put a recreational lake anywhere in Sanpete with the water issues we’re having.”
In laying out her case, Elliot said, “You can have all the water rights in the world,” but that doesn’t mean there is water on the ground to fulfill those rights. Residents in the area rely on wells for agricultural and culinary water, she said. The residents’ concern is that all the development could draw down the aquifers and begin to dry up their wells.
“There’s a friend of ours who lives down the road,” Ken Wilcox of Hideaway Valley said. “They just barely had to drill again, another 500 feet. Their well’s sitting at 600 feet.” Yet they are getting a paltry 3-8 gallons per minute, he said.
One resident at the meeting said it could cost $20,000 to drill a well deeper to get a more adequate water supply.
Once filled, the lake that has state approval would cause a huge waste of water, according to Rob Morris of Fairview, who owns property in Indianola Valley and who has done some calculations related to the prospective lake.
“Just in the summer months, there would be 450,000 to 500,000 gallons per month of evaporation off a 2-acre lake,” he said.
The main access into both the new subdivisions near the fire station and Hideaway Valley is Snail Hollow Road, a road branching off from U.S. 89 next to the fire station.
Residents at the commission meeting said the road is not big enough to handle the traffic volume that would accompany more than 150 home lots now on the drawing board, although none of the lots are approved for building right now.
Mitchell, the zoning administrator agreed. “Access points are an issue. They (the Utah Department of Transportation) would have to increase the size of the existing road and bring it up to standard.”
Yet, some residents at the commission meeting said multiple developers have sold or are selling lots that are not yet buildable.
“They’ve already sold seven lots,” Vivian Kunz of Hideaway Valley said. “I’m a relator, so I know.”